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Israeli spacecraft blasts off towards moon

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Israeli spacecraft
Middle East   Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon

An Israeli spacecraft has rocketed towards the moon for the country's first attempted lunar landing.


Incredible pictures showed SpaceX's powerful Falcon 9 blasting cargo out of Earth’s atmosphere and into the stars during the launch on Thursday.

A communications satellite for Indonesia was the main cargo aboard the rocket, which illuminated the sky as it took flight. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander a first not just for Israel but commercial space generated the buzz.

Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russia, the US and China.

The spacecraft - called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In The Beginning" - will take nearly two months to reach the moon.

"We thought it's about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon," said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of Israel's SpaceIL, a nonprofit organisation behind the effort.

Within an hour after lift-off, Beresheet was already sending back data and had successfully deployed its landing legs, according to SpaceIL.


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